Saturday, July 13, 2024
7.3 C


My Account

- Advertisement -

Local cheese legend remembered

Colin and Biddy Fraser-Davies. PHOTOS/FILE

[email protected]

Eketahuna, and the country’s artisan cheese industry, are mourning the loss of a woman who “fought for the cause” of good quality cheese.

Biddy Fraser-Davies, of Cwmglyn Cheese, died on Friday after suffering a stroke earlier in the week.

Fraser-Davies is best known for her world-famous cheese made at her and her husband Colin’s Eketahuna farm.

Her cheese has appeared in many high-profile places, including on top Auckland restaurant menus, and at Prince Georges’ Government House playdate in 2014.

Biddy Fraser-Davies at work in 2015.

The same year she won a super gold award at the 2014 World Cheese Awards in London with her traditional Cwmglyn farmhouse cheese.

But within the industry, she will also be remembered for her years of battling with the Ministry for Primary Industries over its regulations for small cheese makers.

MPI costs for her small business were crippling as they were in place for large companies such as Fonterra, not small artisan makers.

In 2011, she addressed a select committee and as a result MPI developed a Risk Management Template for Farm House Cheese designed to support small operators.

She was recognised for her hard work at The Great Eketahuna Cheese Festival in May when Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor, who went to the festival, thanked her for her hard work as he launched a new template to help small cheesemakers.

Next year’s festival has already been confirmed for May next year.

She also celebrated her 76th birthday at this year’s festival.

Eketahuna Community Board chairman Charlie Death was saddened by the news of Fraser-Davies’ death.

The pair had worked together on the board for about 15 years before she stood down about five years ago.

“Nothing stopped her from fighting the cause, whatever the cause was.

“You could always rely on her, she would be there with bells on,” Death said.

She and Colin were a good team, he said.

The couple had moved to Eketahuna from Wellington more than 20 years ago.

They had built up an amazing property at the Morgans Rd farm where the cheese was made and sold, and Middleton Model Railway – one of New Zealand’s largest model railways collections.

She had done a lot of the district, he said.

Miles King of Kingsmeade Artisan Cheese in Masterton had known Fraser-Davies for several years.

He appreciated her work with MPI which had simplified regulations for the country’s small cheese makers.

“Her pressuring MPI certainly had some benefits and streamlined compliance,” he said.

Hundreds of condolences streamed in from across the country on the couple’s business Facebook page.

Friends, family and other small-scale cheesemakers shared their memories of her and thanked her for her help in the industry.

Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis described Fraser-Davies as an innovator whose death had “left a hole in our hearts and community”.

“Biddy was well respected in Eketahuna, the Tararua District and throughout New Zealand.

“She was passionate about her community and stood for what she believed in . . . and made a real difference using her skills to improve business and community outcomes.”

“I will remember her achievements being acknowledged at the recent cheese festival by Minister O’Connor and the smile of success she wore that day as she celebrated her birthday with us all,” Collis said.

She is survived by her three children and husband Colin.

A memorial service would be held on Thursday at the Eketahuna Community Hall.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
overcast clouds
7.3 ° C
7.3 °
7.3 °
98 %
99 %
7 °
11 °
9 °
12 °
12 °